The queen and his Queendom
Featured photo by Jaime Saunders, Owner of Creative Pixels Photography
Queen, aka Josh Gore, 31, rules his Queendom with an iron fist in a velvet glove. The Queendom is based in Greensboro but stretches across the whole state, and it is a collective of artists, producers and vendors that also acts as a booking agency and mini-Chamber of Commerce. The Queendom is “eight nations under one crown,” and with Queen Gore at its helm, it “is a movement for equality, a movement to ensure everyone feels equal and to ensure honor and integrity are upheld period, no matter where it is,” the Facebook page states.
Originally called Crown Prestige, the Queendom was started because 19-year-old Gore noticed at hardcore and metal shows that there was a group of people that made going to those shows not fun for everyone else. Gore said he witnessed them hurt a girl at a hardcore show but no one helped her. He said that is what “woke the dragon up.”
“My grandmother, who was by far my best friend and role model– she was my everything– she told me that ‘there is going to be a point in your life when you have to make a choice that defines who you are,’ and it happened in Thomasville of all places,” he explained. “Nobody wanted to help her. I remembered what Nana told me and that was the moment. I put my arms underneath her and I pulled her out of the bar area.”
Thus, Crown Prestige was created to ensure that everyone was treated equally and with dignity, as well as to preserve the integrity of the show and its organizers. The name of the collective slowly evolved into The Queendom because of Gore’s royal nickname “Queen.”
Gore proudly identifies as a gay man, but when the Queendom was first starting to gain momentum, he said he was scared of being outed.
“My biggest fear was that everything that I started, every bit of what I had created would crumble the moment people found out,” he said.
That changed when his friend Justin (the one who dubbed him “Queen”) gave him a pep talk. At age 21, Gore said he came out on stage while hosting a Queendom show at the former Green Street Nightclub. Gore said a big part of the Queendom is to protect other LGBTQIA+ people from feeling scared to go out and be themselves.
“If there is one way to get the dragon to come out, come after my people,” Gore said. “I dare you, I dare anybody. If anyone comes for people I care about, it does not go well for them. Sometimes I feel like a mafia queen,” he added with a laugh.
He said that he wants to use The Queendom to improve internal LGBTQIA+ relations because Greensboro’s queer community could be a lot kinder to each other.
“If nobody does anything to make it better, it is not going to get better,” he said. “I am grateful that we have one, which is a start. We have a mayor right now that is a huge advocate for us. All it takes is enough people to say ‘Hey, we believe this can work’ and it will work. We have every outlet we need, we just need to do something. If we are isolating ourselves, nothing is going to get better.”
In addition to being an LGBTQIA+ advocate, Gore is also very active in politics and local activism. He is very passionate about public service. He has mentored at-risk youth in Philadelphia, canvased for the progressive activist group Working America, and, most recently, organized a counter-protest against the three Westboro Baptist Church members who came to Greensboro and High Point last month.
“I have broken so many stereotypes and so many walls down for our community, especially in [Greensboro],” Gore said. “That is what I like to do with The Queendom. It is a way for genuine people to have a big stage.”
Gore said that the Queendom is made up of 61 people and has set up camp at various bars and nightclubs throughout the Triad since its inception. The former Johnny & June’s in Winston-Salem was the first spot, then the former Club House/Shiners in Greensboro, and now Club Orion, aka “The Castle” as Gore calls it, is the current Queendom headquarters.
Looking forward, The Queendom has a few more events in 2019 and then Gore said he will start preparing for the biggest event, The Queendom Homecoming, and that will be held in March 2020. Gore said Homecoming is when all the members of The Queendom get together for a two-day festival.
At Orion’s, Gore said that The Queendom will be hosting “Fetish After Dark,” which will be on the last Saturday of each month. On Dec. 6 at New York Pizza, The Queendom will be hosting “The Marketplace on Tate Street” from 2 to 9 p.m. On Dec. 7, The Queendom will be hosting “A Regal Rager-The Queen’s Birthday Bash” at Orion’s from 9 p.m. until 2 a.m., which will celebrate Gore’s birthday. Then, on Dec. 27 at Orion’s is “Dubstate: The EDM Dance Party Winter Edition” from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.
To learn more about The Queendom and to stay in the loop, visit The Queendom’s Facebook page.
Katie Murawski is the editor of YES! Weekly. She is from Mooresville, North Carolina and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in film studies from Appalachian State University in 2017.